Los Angeles: Chief William J. Bratton today released the findings of a survey of the uniform members of the LAPD, completed last month, which indicates a dramatic turnaround in the attitudes of officers toward their department, its leadership, and their jobs, while pointing up significant problems still to be addressed.
73.5% of respondents said they were more satisfied with their jobs than a year ago, compared with 47% who said that in 2000 and 65% who said that in 1997. When asked whether the Department receives more positive support from top management (chiefs and commanders), 78.5% said they now do, compared with 16% in 2000, and 33% in 1997. With regard to top leadership, 85% of respondents said the Chief of Police is now leading the LAPD in the right direction, compared to 18% in 2000 and 15% in 1997.
"This survey helps explain why our officers have strongly increased their arrest activity this year, while it points out some serious issues our forthcoming plan of action must address," Chief Bratton said. Among such issues: The survey indicates officers believe the Department is more focused on defending itself against criticism, than it is free to carry out its fundamental mission of reducing crime. For example, officers believe LAPD’s top three concerns are reporting police corruption, complying with the Consent Decree, and not embarrassing the Department. Officers’ top three concerns are, by comparison, catching criminals, reducing crime, and stopping murder.
The survey also indicated an extraordinarily high commitment to integrity as a core value of LAPD. Virtually all respondents (98%) agreed with the statement "Officers should report on other officers who commit serious violations of Department policy or law." The management consultants who conducted the survey said they have not seen such a strong commitment to integrity anywhere else in the nation. LAPD officers also indicated that their number one value in their personal lives is "living according to high moral and ethical standards" – more than three times as important as financial security.
Officers also indicated a deep concern about their own safety in a city where extreme violence is sometimes directed at them, as well as the residents they are trying to protect. 97% agree that "The lives of front-line officers are often placed at risk by the level of violence on the streets of LA." And when that violence occurs they are not certain that help will reach them quickly. 54% agree that "Patrol cars seldom see each other while conducting random patrols."
Los Angeles has one-sixth the number of officers per square mile that New York has, one half the number per capita of New York and a number of other large American cities.
This news advisory was prepared by Public Information Office, 213-485-3586.